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Superintendent Won't Fight Suspension

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As for the parents who rallied in his defense, Sisney says he can't express his gratitude. As for the parents who rallied in his defense, Sisney says he can't express his gratitude.

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

BROKEN ARROW, OK -- The embattled leader of Broken Arrow Public Schools announced on Friday that  he will not appeal his suspension.  The Broken Arrow Board of Education called for Dr. Jim Sisney's job last week.  He could have demanded a due process hearing, but he's chosen not to.  

Dr. Jim Sisney says the Broken Arrow School Board is stacked against him, three to two. And, he'd have better chance of victory in court with an impartial jury.

For two Mondays in a row, supporters gathered and picketed, fighting to get their superintendent back.  Now Dr. Sisney says it's a battle he can't win.

"We have concluded and Dr. Sisney has concluded that to keep fighting is to bring more destruction, yet no opportunity at all for victory," said Sisney's attorney, Gary Richardson.

The Broken Arrow School Board voted three to two to suspend Sisney.  Last week, they sent him a letter detailing their reasons for firing him.

They accuse him of being "demeaning," "humiliating," and "unprofessional" toward staff and board members.

The letter also states he approved sick leave for an employee who wasn't sick and that he made false public allegations against a company that does business with the district.

Sisney believes that refers to Air Assurance, a company he claims didn't go through the competitive bidding process.

"I think the smell test and the instincts of people is that I've done my job as CEO and I've brought things to light," said Dr. Jim Sisney.  "I think the vigilance of citizens need to get at the truth."

Dr. Sisney says for now he will not appeal the district's suspension and he will accept their termination, if they go through with it.

"The answer to the question why not appeal it is cause there's a stacked deck. There are three board members who have made it abundantly clear how they're going to vote," said Sisney's attorney, Gary Richardson.

But, Sisney, who is already suing three school board members for defamation, says depending on the board's action, he could take this matter to court because he does not believe the board's reasons are valid.

"Reasons we fully believe, one day at the proper place at the proper time, will prove to be nothing more than a witch hunt by three board members, who are obviously being coached by a lawyer," said Sisney's attorney, Gary Richardson.

Dr. Sisney says he's worried about those left behind.

"That I am very afraid for some of the employees that I worked with because they've been pressured and coerced," said Dr. Jim Sisney.

Sisney stands by his claims that Air Assurance did not go through the competitive bidding process.  The school board approved an independent audit to look at the company's billing among other things. 

Sisney's not convinced it will be comprehensive.

"The objective of that clearly will be to paint the light that I have been incompetent. That I didn't give good oversight and stuff like that. It will then cutback to number four on the letter that I made false allegations," said Dr. Jim Sisney.

As for the parents who rallied in his defense, he says he can't express his gratitude.

Sisney has not filed his wrongful termination lawsuit, yet.  But, he says it's a definite possibility.

Related story:

10/17/2008  Dr Jim Sisney-Broken Arrow School Board Timeline

10/14/2008  Parents Protest Board Decision

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